Summer Reading

I must admit, I love summer reading week at the blog. Emily and I rarely discuss what we’re reading before we put it up, and I love seeing what she’s working on for the summer, and getting inspired to add a few new things to my pile from hers. We actually have fairly different literary tastes (as I’ll explain in a minute…), and seeing her stack inspires me to get out of my comfort zone a little bit.

Anna's Books

Lila, read together with Emily for our week vacationing together this summer: This is a completely new read for me. I am not a Marilynne Robinson fan, for reasons that are way too lengthy to get into here. I read Home several years ago and really had a hard time with it. I started Lila this summer very biased against it. After e-mailing Emily half-way through telling her I hated it, she gave me some helpful pointers that really did help me slow down and enjoy the rest of the novel. While it’s still not my favorite, having somebody who loves it to bounce ideas off of has immensely helped.

Side note: John Piper did a review of the book here. I haven’t read it yet, but am hoping to bring a copy to our reunion for further discussion. 

Also for our vacation together: Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in Lewis’s Chronicles.  Having read the Chronicles to my kids multiple times now, I’m really enjoying this look at some of the different themes. Life Under Compulsion by Anthony Esolen. Who doesn’t love Esolen? My husband and I will be reading this one aloud as we drive across the country over the next few weeks.

The other books in my pile have one central theme: my goal is to get back to enjoying reading again. So this summer I’ve tried to pick books that I’m pretty sure I’ll absolutely love, just to get back into the reading habit.

Bunker Hill and Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick. Philbrick is so easy to read, and I love history. I re-read his Mayflower this year, so when I saw Valiant Ambition at Costco, I grabbed it. I don’t always agree with his take on the Pilgrims, but I enjoy reading the history and then discussing the ways I think he gets the Pilgrims wrong with my husband and a history buff colleague of his.

Royal Road to Romance by Richard Halliburton. I started this this spring after finding it in a used bookstore. The book is nice short chapters about the author’s travels through Europe after college. It is well written and easy to read. If you frequent Ambelside Online at all, you know that his children’s works are recommended geography reading there. Reading this one, aimed at adults, has made me want to read the kid’s version.

Pioneer Girl. I am absolutely dying to read this one, but am making myself wait until we leave for vacation. It’s an annotated biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The rumor I’ve heard is that it’s how she originally wrote the Little House books, but couldn’t get published in that form. Apparently it’s a lot grittier, portraying some of the reality of frontier life that doesn’t show up in the children’s books. Can’t wait.

And, to finish up, I thought I’d give you a couple books that I’ve been enjoying with my kids. I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus by Jack Prelutsky. Such a fun book of poetry. In the same vein as Shel Silverstein, but I enjoy them much, much more. I keep it next to my bed, and my son climbs up in the morning and we read a few pages together. Classic Fairy Tales by Scott Gustafson. I love the illustrations of Scott Gustafson, and my little kids and I have been obsessed with fairy tales the past few months. Someday I’ll do a post with our favorites :).

I’d love to hear what books you’re loving this summer!

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One Response to Summer Reading

  1. Sara Hess says:

    I’m reading “Pioneer Girl” right now! It’s really hard to put down, and the footnotes are just as fascinating as the actual text. As I’ve been reading the “Little House” books aloud to my daughter, I just kept wondering how Ma Ingalls kept her sanity in so much solitude. Come to find out, Laura edited out a whole slew of characters (many of whom shared a roof with the family in their various homes) when she rewrote her stories for the children’s book series. Sounds like Ma wasn’t so lonely in real life 🙂

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